Cebu News

Cokaliong sues Trans Asia ship chief

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - The Maritime Industry Authority-7 has directed the ship captain of MV Trans Asia 3 to submit a written comment and to show cause why his Seafarer’s Identification and Records Book and Domestic Certificate Competency should not be suspended for negligence/incompetence in the performance of duty.

Marina-7 regional director Nannette Villamor-Dinopol in her order dated January 5, 2016 directed Captain Manolito Felicia to answer the complaint filed by Chester Cokaliong, chief executive officer of Cokaliong Shipping Lines Inc.

Cokaliong, in his four-page complaint, said that at 5:13 a.m. of October 31, 2015, his vessel, MV Filipinas Nasipit, was already docked and secured at Berth 6B of the Port of Ozamiz and around 6 a.m., MV Trans Asia 3 of Trans Asia Shipping Lines Inc.  arrived with Felicia manuevering the vessel for docking.

While manuevering, MV Trans Asia 3 had drifted towards MV Filipinas Nasipit and, in the process, dragged the starboard side anchor of Cokaliong’s vessel, resulting in one joining shackle of the anchor chain to be damaged and detached.

One hour after the incident, Felicia called by radio informing Aldrin Amatong, ship captain of MV Filipinas Nasipit, that the latter would like to board Cokaliong’s vessel. The latter allegedly asked how many shackles went down to the sea bottom with the anchor after the joining shackle was damaged and detached.

Felicia was tentatively told that maybe the chain that snapped was near the anchor of around two to three meters.

However, it was later discovered that the actual length of the chain that fell to the sea bottom with the anchor was about 15 fathoms or an equivalent of 27.4 meters.

Amatong told Felicia that CSLI will charge the expenses for the repair and retrieval of the detached chain and the anchor to the latter and TASLI.

At 7:30 a.m. on the same day, MV Filipinas Nasipit departed from the Port of Ozamiz for the Port of Iligan without the starboard side anchor that was left at the sea bottom and went back to the Port of Ozamiz at around 6:08 p.m.

CSLI, on the following morning, hired divers for the retrieval of the chain and anchor and spent P9,000 for the services of the divers and spent another P32,103.82 for the purchase of one unit of joining shackle from Japan.

On November 10, 2015, CSLI sent a demand letter for the refund of the actual expenses totaling P41,103.82.

“However, instead of complying with the demand for refund, Trans Asia Shipping Lines Inc. replied on November 20, 2015 denying any fault,” the complaint read.

Baltazar Llenos, designated person ashore of TASLI, in his letter to Atty. Earl Bonachita, the legal counsel of CSLI, said they conducted an inquiry on the said incident and determined that Felicia, while executing docking maneuver, saw that the crew of CSLI slackened its vessel’s starboard anchor.

Llenos said when their vessel had already moved farther away from CSLI’s vessel, their vessel’s second officer Roaldno Bulaquia allegedly saw complainant’s vessel take up the slack of the starboard anchor unit and it was tight again.

Llenos added that CSLI’s vessel had all the time, full and complete control of the starboard anchor as evidenced by Cokaliong crew’s slackening and taking up the slack.

Besides, Lleonos said that Felicia dropped the anchor much farther away from the complainant’ s  vessel’s anchor and there was no way that their anchor could have dragged the latter’s starboard anchor.

“In view of these, we profoundly regret to deny your request for reimbursement as such fault was not attributed to us,” Llenos’ letter read.

However, Cokaliong said the statements of TASLI were “totally untrue.”

“The act of respondent (Felicia) in boarding complainant’s vessel and asking how many shackles went down to the sea bottom with the anchor after the joining shackle was damaged and detached is an indication of his acknowledgement that his vessel indeed had dragged complainant’s vessel’s anchor and cause the damaged of the anchor chain,” the complaint read.

Such act of Felicia, Cokaliong said, is a ground for suspension or revocation of the latter’s  D-COC and SIRB under the Revised Philippine Merchant Marine Rules and Regulations.  (FREEMAN)

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